China China IFAD's Opening Remarks at the China International Poverty Reduction Forum, Beijing, 23/05/2018 Matteo Marchisio 2018-05-23T14:16:03Z 2018-05-23T14:12:34Z <p> <img alt="" src=";groupId=12834&amp;t=1527084450601&amp;custom1=true" style="width: 600px; height: 397px; margin: 10px;" /><em>Opening remarks by the IFAD Country Director and Representative for China &amp; Mongolia at the "China International Poverty Reduction Forum" - Beijing, 23 May 2018</em></p> <p> Distinguished Mr Chen Zhigang,</p> <p> Distinguished Mr Feng Zhenghui,</p> <p> Distinguished delegates,</p> <p> Esteemed colleagues,</p> <p> Ladies and gentlemen,</p> <p>  </p> <p> <strong><em>Ni Hao/ Good morning</em></strong></p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> It is a great pleasure for me to be here to share my views on how partnering and sharing knowledge can contribute to achieve sustainable development.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Let me start by recognizing the enormous progress that humanity has made towards eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> If you consider there were about 1.8 billion people living in poverty in 1990 and only half of them today, we must acknowledge the enormous progress we collectively made in reducing poverty and pursuing sustainable development over the past thirty years.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Yet, about 800 million people still live in poverty and are food insecure [836 m and 815 m respectively]. This is about the population of the European Union and the US together.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> In response to this challenge, the world has committed to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> However -- even without taking into consideration the effects of new and unpredictable challenges such as climate change, conflicts, pandemics, etc. -- if the current trends persists, we already know that the development objectives we set for ourselves will not be achieved, and that – by 2030 – about 240 million people will still be living in poverty, and about 345 million people will be food unsecure.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> <strong>But who are these poor?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> We know that about ¾ of them live in rural areas, are smallholders, and depend on smallholder agriculture for their livelihoods.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> It is thus intuitive that we need to focus on addressing the problems in the rural areas if we want to achieve our sustainable development objectives.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Experience worldwide show that agricultural development and inclusive rural transformation are cost-effective means to address poverty and inequality, and that investing in agricultural and rural development has a number of payoffs across most of the sustainable development goals (SDGs):</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> A growing and transforming rural sector in fact generates multiplying effects in the rural economy, creating on-farm and off-farm opportunities that – in turn - provide new opportunities for the rural population.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> It thus does make sense to invest in rural areas to reduce poverty and pursue sustainable development.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> However (according to the Rural Development Report, the IFAD's flagship publication on relevant topics in agricultural and rural development), it's not automatic that investments in rural areas do automatically translate in poverty reduction. For rural transformation to be inclusive and truly benefit the poor, certain conditions have to happen:</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> An enabling policy and regulatory framework has to be put in place, institutions must acquire the adequate capacity to implement changes, there must be a right mix of policies and investments, etc.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> <strong>In this context, the case of China is, in many respects, exemplary.</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Forty years ago China was a prevailing rural/agricultural-based economy: more than 80% of the population lived in rural areas; 70% of the population was employed in the agricultural sector, and agriculture contributed to 30% of the GDP.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> More than 800 million people (or 88% of the population) lived below the poverty line.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> The story is well known by everyone. Thanks to a series of policy reforms (the land reform and the establishment of the Household Responsibility System, the market reform and trade liberalization, the fiscal and administrative decentralization – among other reforms), and thanks to a series of investments, both productive investments (roads, irrigations, etc.) and social investments (in health and education), China is today close to eradicate poverty and hunger, and has significantly improved most of the human development indicators among its population.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Given these achievements, the question is:</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> <strong>How can China contribute to the global efforts and commitment of ending poverty and hunger, and achieve sustainable development in the next decade? </strong></p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> <strong>And how can China participate and contribute to the global efforts of building a 'peaceful, safe and prosperous world', in line with President Xi Jiping's vision for China?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> We all know that ODA (Oversea Development Assistance) will be insufficient to meet the financial requirements to meet the SDGs: the requirements are far beyond the available public funds [it is estimated that as much as USD 4.5 trillion per annum are required to eradicate poverty and meet the SDGs].</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Technology (transfer of technologies) can only represent a partial solution to attain the SDGs, as development is not only (or it is far more than) a technological problem that can be addressed with a technological solution.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> The answer is "knowledge", in the broad sense of the term.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Better knowledge (better awareness, better know-how, better information…) leads to better decisions, which leads to better outcomes. Development is about having an adequate set of knowledge to take the right decisions.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Since the 1950s, when international development cooperation started, a central question in development has been how knowledge can be best generated, shared, and used/adopted – for the sake of human development.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> As I mentioned earlier, China' successful experience in reducing poverty, and advance human development has generated a bulk of knowledge that China can share to the rest of the developing world. This knowledge could be the immediate, tangible contribution that China can make to the global commitment to end poverty and achieve sustainable development by 2030.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> In this context, the Global Portal for Inclusive Growth &amp; Poverty Reduction (GPIG) - and, as part of the Global Portal, the Global Poverty Reduction Knowledge Sharing Database - are concrete contributions that China made towards sharing knowledge, reducing knowledge gaps, and address information problems -- or, in other words, to promote knowledge for development.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> However, an important element that makes in my view these knowledge sharing tools (the Portal and the Database) particularly valuable is that they have been built with the contribution of many partners.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Knowledge is not a prerogative of a single organization or of a single institution. Nowadays, no organization can claim to possess the entire knowledge on a specific topic, and the value of a knowledge sharing tool is how participatory and inclusive it is.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Knowledge cooperation, partnering for knowledge sharing are thus necessary to achieve results.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> And in this context, we appreciate and praise the organization of this Annual Forum as a moment to gather different partners that share the same commitment to ending poverty and offering them the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Let me conclude by sharing how my organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), actively contributes to the global knowledge agenda.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> IFAD, an international financing institution and UN agency that provides concessional loans and grants to developing countries to finance rural development projects and programs, has progressively moved towards being a knowledge institution as much as a financial institution.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> IFAD generates knowledge from its projects by systematically reporting on the results of its activities. IFAD systematically measures (through rigorous, scientific impact assessments) the attributable impact of its operations.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> It actively promotes innovation, learning from innovation, and sharing knowledge through its grant program. About 6.5% of IFAD program resources, or about US$ 600-700,000 per annum, are granted as grants to support research and knowledge generation.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> IFAD regularly publishes the Rural Development Report, which provides evidence-based analysis of topics related to rural development processes.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Finally, IFAD is about to launch the Rural Solutions Portal, a web-based knowledge-sharing platform that collects a number of successful rural development solutions (innovations, technologies, processes, etc.), promoting knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> The Rural Solution Portal will be linked to the Global Portal for Inclusive Growth &amp; Poverty Reduction, providing another example of partnering for knowledge sharing.</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> Let me conclude by quoting an African proverb that in my view well captures the spirit of this Forum: "Knowledge is the only thing you can give away entirely without running out of it".</p> <p style="margin-left:1.0cm;"> I thank you for your attention, and wish you a fruitful workshop.&nbsp; <strong>Xie Xie.</strong></p> Matteo Marchisio 2018-05-23T14:12:34Z Eight Questions & Answers for on Global Partnerships, China reforms, and Knowledge Sharing for poverty reduction Matteo Marchisio 2018-05-03T01:47:09Z 2018-05-02T05:54:56Z <p align="left" style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><em>This is an extract of an interview of Mr Matteo Marchisio, Country Representative of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in China, at on 2 May 2018. </em></span></p> <p> <strong>I. The role of Global Partnerships to achieve global poverty reduction</strong></p> <p> <strong>1. Over the past 40 years, China has succeeded in lifting more than 700 million people out of poverty. How do you see China’s achievements in poverty reduction and its contribution to global poverty alleviation?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> China's achievements in reducing poverty over the past 40 years are remarkable, if you think that 700 million people is roughly equivalent to the total population of Europe and the United States together.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> If you consider that in 1990 there were about 1.8 billion people living in poverty, out of which 1.5 billion in Asia, and that today there are about 700 million people living in poverty, out of which about 300 million in Asia, you can clearly see China's contribution to poverty alleviation globally.</p> <p> <strong>2. How can countries and the international organizations innovate partnerships in poverty reduction to eradicate poverty in the world?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> Countries are ultimately responsible for pursuing the development (in broad sense) of their citizens: for defining the right set of development policies, identifying their development priorities, developing their development strategies, and allocating adequate resources to achieve their development objectives.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> International organizations, and IFAD among them, can support countries in pursuing their development objectives in two ways.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> First, because of their presence in several developing countries (IFAD for instance has 50 country offices and operations in more than 100 countries), they can facilitate the sharing of development experiences, lessons, best practices among developing countries, thus helping countries in learning from each other, capitalizing on development successes, and avoiding mistakes.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> Second, international organizations can help the governments of developing countries in leveraging resources and partnerships (with other bilateral or multilateral development organizations, civil society, private sector, etc.) to support their development efforts.</p> <p> <strong>II. The impact of China's "reform and opening-up" on China's poverty reduction</strong></p> <p> <strong>3. The 19th National Congress outlined China’s development blueprint for the coming decades. What do you make of the so-called “new era” that the country is trying to shift towards?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> What China calls "new era" of development is a natural step in China's development.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> For 40 years China successfully focused on lifting the population living in extreme poverty out of poverty.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> Now that China is so close to achieve this goal (China is expected to eradicate rural poverty by 2020), it is moving to the next phase: ensuring not only that the poor segments of its society are finally out of extreme poverty, but that its entire population has decent standards of living; reducing the unbalances and inequalities between rural and urban areas, and between provinces; and sharing the successful experience of poverty reduction worldwide.</p> <p> <strong>4. What are your comments on China's “reform and opening up” policy and its impact on the rest of the world over the last 40 years?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> Certainly the land reform and the establishment of the Household Responsibility System, the gradual market liberalization, the opening-up to international trade and foreign investments – among other reforms, such as the fiscal and administrative decentralization, etc. (what is commonly known as "China's reform and opening-up") are at the basis of China's successful story in poverty reduction. China's impressive achievements in terms of poverty reduction significantly contributed to poverty reduction globally.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> These reforms, if properly adjusted to each country' specific context, offer useful lessons on how China succeeded in reducing rural poverty that other developing countries can refer to in pursuing their developing goals.</p> <p> <strong>5. China adheres to pursue development with its "door open wide". In your opinion, in what ways can IFAD strengthen cooperation with China?&nbsp; </strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> IFAD, as well as other international development organizations, through its extensive presence and experience in developing countries, can facilitate the dissemination of China' successful experiences on poverty reduction to other developing countries.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> At the same time, as China develops, it does faces new and different development challenges: how to reduce inequalities, how to ensure environmental sustainability and food safety, how to balance rural and urban development, etc.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> IFAD can share experiences and best practices from other countries, particularly upper-middle income countries (e.g. Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, the Balkans, etc.) that went through similar path of development and faced similar development challenges.</p> <p> <strong>III. The role of knowledge sharing in poverty reduction</strong></p> <p> <strong>6. UN and its partners are working together to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and make sure no one is left behind. Since different countries are in different development stages, what remains to be done to ensure no country is left behind as the world progresses towards 2030?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> Each country is responsible for attaining its development objectives, which are summarized by the Sustainable Development Goals. However, because each country is at a different stage of development, the path to achieve such development objectives would be different for each country, depending on the different stage of development and specific development challenges. The goal is the same, but the recipe to achieve the same goal is different for each country.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> It is thus difficult to provide an answer that is valid for each country. Probably, a general message that could be applicable to each country is that eradicating poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals is possible. China has demonstrated that it is possible to eradicate rural poverty. Such an achievement could set an example and inspire other countries.</p> <p> <strong>7. How would you describe the role of knowledge sharing in poverty reduction? As part of the Global Poverty Reduction Online Knowledge Sharing Database project, what do you think of this platform?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> The role of knowledge sharing in poverty reduction is often underestimated, but in fact it is paramount. There is no "hard" investment that can substitute the intangible value of knowing what works (or does not work), where, and why in pursuing development objectives.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> In this regard, the Global Poverty Reduction Online Knowledge Sharing Database represents a useful tool to share information, approaches, experiences, lessons, best practices among developing countries on how to best achieve poverty reduction and sustainable development.</p> <p> <strong>8. IFAD with six other organizations are launching the Global Solicitation and Challenge Prize on Best Practices campaign. What do you hope this event can achieve in terms of poverty reduction knowledge sharing?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> We hope this event can contribute to draw attention from global partners and developing countries on the Platform and interest in sharing their knowledge through this Platform – and by doing this to contribute to achieve poverty reduction globally.</p> Matteo Marchisio 2018-05-02T05:54:56Z IFAD's Opening Remarks at the RUFBEP Workshop, Beijing, 23/03/2018 Matteo Marchisio 2018-03-28T07:07:41Z 2018-03-28T07:07:41Z <p> <img alt="" src=";groupId=12834&amp;t=1522220569306&amp;custom1=true" style="width: 600px; height: 450px; margin: 10px;" /></p> <p> <em>Opening remarks by the IFAD Country Director and Representative for China &amp; Mongolia at the "Documenting Global Best Practices on Sustainable Models of Pro-Poor Rural Financial Services in Developing Countries" Dissemination Workshop - Beijing, 28 March 2018</em></p> <ul> <li> Honourable Mr Lun Shanjun, Chairman of Huainan-tong-shang Rural Commercial Bank,</li> </ul> <ul> <li> Honourable Mr G. R. Chintala, Chief General Manager of NABARD India,</li> </ul> <ul> <li> Dr Prasun Kumar Das, Secretary General of APRACA, the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association,</li> </ul> <ul> <li> Excellencies,</li> <li> Esteemed colleagues,</li> <li> Ladies and gentlemen,</li> </ul> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <strong><em>Ni Hao/ Good morning</em></strong></p> <ul> <li> On behalf of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, I would like to welcome you to this workshop on "Documenting Regional Best Practices in Rural Finance", co-hosted by IFAD, Huainan-tong-shang Rural Commercial Bank, and the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA).</li> <li> Let me start by sharing the story that led to this workshop.</li> <li> It was 2013. &nbsp;During a visit of the IFAD Director for Asia, the National Development and Reform Commission in China, NDRC, asked IFAD to help the Government in identifying effective models and approaches to expand the access of financial services in rural areas, and particularly to more vulnerable segments of society -- looking at good practices both in China and in other countries.</li> </ul> <p>  </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Why was the Government of China interested in such topic? </strong></li> <li> Improving access to financial services in rural areas has consistently been one of the priority areas identified in the past Number 1 Documents - the first major policy document released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party each year.</li> <li> The Government of China committed to eradicate extreme poverty in rural areas by 2020. China had made impressive progress in reducing rural poverty since the early 80s, when more than 800 million people or almost 90% of the rural population were living in poverty. However, there were (in 2013), and still there are (today) several dozens of millions of people living in poverty.</li> <li> A large part of the population in China still live in rural areas and is engaged in the agriculture sector. Considering that the majority of the poor are concentrated in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture, agriculture growth and the economic development of rural areas remain central to pursue and poverty reduction.</li> <li> During the 19th National Congress of the China's Communist Party in October last year, President Xi Jinping coined the concept of "rural revitalization" - that is to say: pursuing the development of rural areas addressing issues related to the modernization of agriculture, rural employment generation, food security, and environmental protection. He pledged to pursue a strategy to achieve a revitalization of the rural areas in the next 30 years</li> <li> Moving the remaining poor out of the poverty is a challenge, as the closer you get to the target, the higher the costs and the efforts required.</li> <li> Similarly, to develop rural areas and pursue the concept of rural revitalization and agricultural modernization, China would need to continue and further the processes of structural and rural transformation it has undergone for the past decades.</li> </ul> <p>  </p> <ul> <li> <strong>What could help addressing the challenges to move the remaining poor out of poverty and pursuing rural transformation? What opportunities, what untapped potential does exist in rural areas to accelerate the pace of poverty reduction and develop the rural areas in China?</strong></li> <li> It is estimated that less than 10% of poor rural households have access to the most basic financial services: access to credit, transfer payments, saving.</li> <li> Similarly, most of the micro- and small-agro-enterprises, which could potentially play an important role move poor smallholder farmers out of poverty and develop rural areas, have equal limited access to financial services because of the riskiness of their business and lack of collaterals.</li> <li> There is thus an untapped potential to boost poverty reduction efforts and promote the development and the revitalization of rural areas. This can be pursued by promoting access to rural finance services in rural areas, particularly to those segments of society and those commercial entities that at the moment have limited access to financial services: the poor and the micro- and small-agro-enterprises.</li> <li> There is a robust evidence that promoting access to inclusive financial services has a positive impact on the income and livelihoods of the households and is positively correlated to economic development.</li> <li> However, although good progress has been achieved during the past two/three decades in allowing better access of rural people to microfinance, credit and other short-term finance, there remains a huge gap between supply and demand of medium and long-term financing to smallholder farmers and rural micro- and small-agro-enterprises.</li> <li> The frontier of medium-to-longer term finance, particularly for small- and micro-agro-enterprises is a critical niche to improve the productivity of these agro-enterprises, which will in turn generate employment opportunities, and eventually ensure inclusive development and transformation in rural areas.</li> <li> The potential of inclusive finance to boost poverty reduction and rural development is thus the rationale for the interest of the Government of China in effective models and approaches to expand the access of financial services in rural areas -- and the background to their request to IFAD.</li> </ul> <p>  </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Why was then IFAD approached to deliver such task?</strong></li> <li> IFAD is one of the world's largest lenders in rural finance for poverty reduction. Since 1978, when IFAD was established, IFAD has invested over 3 billion US dollars in rural finance initiatives in more than 70 countries: from the more traditional lending and saving, to a wide range of financial products and services, including value-chain financing, agricultural risk management, insurance, and remittances.</li> <li> In 2017, investments in rural finance or financial inclusion services accounted for about one-sixth of our portfolio, or 1.1 billion US dollars, supporting retail funding, human and institutional capacity building, and enabling policy and regulation.</li> </ul> <p>  </p> <ul> <li> To respond to the request of the Government of China, IFAD and APRACA, the Asia and Pacific Rural Agricultural Credit Association, have partnered in this project -- whose results will be presented today.</li> <li> The project identified best practices in rural finance in five pilot countries in the Asia Region (China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand), and tested their effectiveness and potential for replication.</li> <li> This workshop will share the results of the project, presenting and discussing the identified best practices, highlighting their impact, challenges for wide replication, and policy implications.</li> </ul> <p>  </p> <ul> <li> In concluding my remarks and welcoming you to this workshop, let me share what I consider the challenge and the opportunity of this project.</li> <li> First, the challenge. This project has certainly contributed to analyse and document effective models and approaches in rural finance - contributing to identifying regional best practices. It has in addition certainly generated a valuable set of knowledge - particularly with regard to cash-flow based lending, agricultural value chain finance, and the role of e-platforms in value-chain financing.</li> <li> However, how the knowledge generated by this project will be used and capitalized by the various Governments, financial institutions, or development organizations is beyond the scope of this project. This workshop would certainly contribute to share the knowledge of the results of this project, but how the knowledge generated and captured by this project will be used is our individual responsibility.</li> <li> Second, the opportunity. When NDRC requested for international best practices on rural finance, it did not use the term "South-South Cooperation", but – as a matter of fact – what the project did was promoting South-South Knowledge Cooperation.</li> <li> There is an enormous opportunity to capitalize on the network that has been created through this project and to continue "South-South" knowledge cooperation on this topic.</li> </ul> <p>  </p> <ul> <li> In this regard, I certainly welcome the recent opportunity for APRACA to establish a Knowledge Center on Rural Finance within the Agricultural Development Bank of China in Beijing. This offers an immediate and concrete opportunity for APRACA and IFAD to continue partnering in China and in the region, working together on sharing rural finance innovations through south-south technical cooperation.</li> </ul> <p>  </p> <ul> <li> I thank you for your attention, and wish you a fruitful workshop.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Xie Xie.&nbsp;</strong></p> Matteo Marchisio 2018-03-28T07:07:41Z Three Questions and Answers on the closing statement of President Xi at the National People’s Congress for Matteo Marchisio’s-congress-for-china-org-cn 2018-03-21T01:41:30Z 2018-03-21T01:41:30Z <p align="left" style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> <em>This is an extract of an interview of Mr Matteo Marchisio, Country Representative of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in China, at on 20 March 2018. The published article is available at: <u><a href=""></a></u>&nbsp;.</em></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> <strong>1. In his remarks at the closing ceremony of the National People’s Congress today, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China will win the battle against poverty. How do you comment China’s determination to eliminate poverty?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> As a development professional in an organization dedicated to poverty eradication and rural development globally, I cannot not admire and commend the tireless commitment of the Chinese people to eradicate poverty in China, as reflected by the words of their leader, President Xi Jinping. I do believe that the strong and continuous commitment to poverty eradication over four decades, which translated in the mobilization of the whole society towards the achievement of this goal, is probably the main factor behind the success of China in reducing, and soon eliminating, extreme poverty in the country.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> China's commitment and determination to eliminate poverty is an example and a message of hope for the rest of the world: with a clear vision and a strong commitment, ending poverty and achieving the sustainable development goals is possible.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> <strong>2. President Xi also mentioned that China would continue to participate in global governance, to build a peaceful, safe, open and prosperous world. What kind of role do you think China can play in this process?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> Being the second largest economy and the most populated country in the world, China has certainly a role and a shared responsibility towards global public goods. In this contest, the confirmation from President Xi that China would continue to participate in the discussion around global issues is, in my personal view, an important indication of the willingness of China to accept such role and share such responsibility.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> From a development perspective, the world can certainly benefit from China's experience and lessons in eradicating poverty. China can become an advocate and champion of the sustainable development agenda, that is to say a world free of poverty by 2030.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> <strong>3. As the first country director in China, could you please briefly introduce your work plan? And how do you think China and IFAD can cooperate in rural development?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> My appointment as representative of my organization, the International Fund of Agricultural Development, IFAD, a specialized organization of the United Nations dedicated to poverty reduction and rural development, comes at a critical juncture in China.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> On the one hand, once achieved the goal of eradicating "extreme" poverty, China would soon face the "next questions": first, how to sustain this achievement, avoiding that the people that were moved out of poverty fall back into poverty; and second, how to reduce inequalities, particularly between rural and urban areas. IFAD can support China in addressing these challenges by bringing international experiences, lessons, and best practices from other countries that went through similar pathways.</p> <p style="margin-left:18.0pt;"> On the other hand, China' success in eradicating poverty has generated a number of lessons that can benefit other development countries. IFAD, together with other agencies of the United Nations, multilateral development banks, bilateral organizations, and other development partners, can facilitate sharing China' successful experience and lessons in eradicating poverty to other countries of the "South" through what we call "South-South Cooperation".</p> Matteo Marchisio 2018-03-21T01:41:30Z Six Questions and Answers on Poverty Reduction in China for CGTN America Matteo Marchisio 2018-03-19T07:44:46Z 2018-03-19T07:41:29Z <div> <span style="font-size:12px;"><em>This is an extract of an <u><a href="" target="_blank">interview</a></u> of Mr Matteo Marchisio, Country Representative of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in China, at CGTN America on 8 March 2018.</em></span></div> <div>  </div> <p> <strong>1. What policies are in place to reduce poverty in China? </strong></p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> Poverty reduction in China is the result of a number of successful policies and measures that complemented and supported with each other over the past 40 years. However, if I had to identify the most important, I would name four.</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> First, <strong>the set-up of an inter-ministerial body </strong>(the Leading Group Office on Poverty Alleviation, LGOP) that reports directly to the State Council that oversees and coordinates poverty reduction efforts in the country. Being poverty a multidisciplinary problem, the set-up of an inter-ministerial body allowed the country to develop and implement coordinated multi-sectoral responses to poverty.</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> Second, <strong>an effort to</strong> <strong>precise targeting, followed by tailored poverty reduction measures.</strong> China significantly invested in understanding and recording who the poor are, where they live, and why they are poor. Once understood who the poor are and the underlying reasons of their status of poverty, China developed specific, tailored measures for poverty reduction which specifically address the identified cause of poverty (i.e. production enhancement/industrialization of rural areas, investments in social welfare, voluntary resettlement programs, ecological compensation for preserving natural resources, provision of vocational training opportunities, etc.).</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> Third, <strong>the provision of</strong> <strong>a strong financial support to implement the identified poverty reduction measures</strong>. For instance, in 2017 about RMB 200 billion (about USD 30 billion) from the Government budget were allocated to finance poverty reduction programs. In 2018, the allocation for poverty reduction has increased by about 50%, to about RMB 300 billion (about USD 50 billion). This gives the governments at different level the means to implement the identified poverty reduction measures.</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> Fourth, understanding that poverty is a multi-disciplinary problem, whose root cases cuts across different sectors, <strong>the implementation of</strong> <strong>an integrated approach to poverty reduction</strong>.Such approach combined investments in infrastructure development (roads, railways, irrigation canals, etc.) with investment for social development (i.e. investments in the health and education sector) and economic development (i.e. production enhancement and "industrialization" of the rural areas).</p> <p> <strong>2. How have these measured worked so far?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> The combined efforts of these policies and measures has certainly been successful, if we consider that 40 years ago, in 1978, when Deng Xiao Ping started his reforms, there were more than 800 million people living in poverty, and today the estimated number of poor range between 32-35 million.</p> <p> <strong>3. China aims to lift over 10 million people in the rural areas out of poverty within this year. Is it likely that China will achieve this target? What more should the government to do so?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> I am convinced the target is achievable, if we consider that in 2017 about 13 million people were brought out of poverty, and in the five-year period 2013-2017 about 70 million people were brought out of poverty (that is to say about 13-14 million people per year on average).</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> Considering that the closer you get to the target (i.e. no extreme poverty in 2020), the harder it becomes to achieve it, I believe a lower than pervious years' figure represents a realistic target.</p> <p> <strong>4. Which provinces and regions should be given more attention to?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> Historically, the Central and Western provinces were the poorest. Nowadays while this is still - to a certain extent - true, we are now talking more about the "remaining pockets of poverty" within provinces. These are typically remote mountainous areas.</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> There are about 600 counties which are classified as "national poverty counties".</p> <p> <strong>5. What challenges still remain?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> As mentioned earlier, the closer you get to the "zero-poverty" target, the harder it becomes to reach it: the marginal costs, the marginal efforts to bring the remaining poor out of poverty is as a matter of fact increasing.</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> The reason is that the remaining poor are spread out in even furtherly remote and marginal areas, with difficult physical access, limited natural or physical assets, and limited development opportunities. In addition, the remaining poor are the most vulnerable segment of society, i.e. the eldest, chronically sick or handicapped people.</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> It is thus understandable that the efforts and costs for bringing these poor out of their status of poverty is higher.</p> <p> <strong>6. China has been a leading force in lifting people out of poverty. What lessons and experience can it lend to the world?</strong></p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> As mentioned earlier, poverty reduction in China is the results of a number of factors. However, if I have to pick what, in my view, has been the most important factor of success in China, I would say that this was the steady and continuous strong political commitment to poverty eradication, which translated into a long-term vision which has been maintained consistently over four decades by the different leaders, a series of coherent mid-term plans which supported the long-term vision, an adequate allocation of resources to implement the plans, and a clear responsibility and accountability framework at all levels.</p> <p style="margin-left:21.3pt;"> This is probably the lesson that China can lend to the world: with a clear vision and strong political commitment, ending poverty is possible.</p> Matteo Marchisio 2018-03-19T07:41:29Z First message as new Country Manager for the China Program Matteo Marchisio 2014-05-06T10:34:43Z 2014-05-06T08:23:21Z <p> <img alt="Children learn and socialize in a public school classroom in Lianwu village, Nanxu town, Longan county, West Guangxi, China (Photo credit: Susan Beccio)" src=";groupId=12834&amp;t=1399371952228&amp;custom1=true" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 255); width: 600px; height: 399px; margin: 10px;" /><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 255);">It’s with a great pleasure that I post my first message as new Country Manager for the China Program. I am extremely honoured by this new assignment, and excited by the challenges and opportunities that developing and implementing this country program offer.</span></p> <p> <span style="color:#00f;">I am also very happy to have the opportunity to work closely with three colleagues of mine - Sun Yinhong, Liu Ke and Han Lei - of whom I received many positive references and feedback, and I hope our interaction would allow us to learn and benefit from each other, and would result in mutual personal enrichment and professional growth.</span></p> <p> <span style="color:#00f;">I have recently come back from my first mission to China, where I had the opportunity to participate to the Mid-Term Review of our Country Strategy (COSOP), to the final design of a new project in the Luoxiao Mountain Block Area in the Jiangxi Province (the Jiangxi Mountainous Areas Agribusiness Promotion Project, or JiMAAPP), and to the inception mission of a new project in the Liupan Mountain Area of the Qinghai Province (the Qinghai Liupan Mountain Area Poverty Reduction Project) - and I was impressed by the potential of this country, the capacity of its people, and the earnestness of the Government. All ingredients for a successful program.</span></p> <p> <span style="color:#00f;">It’s too early to make any statement on my personal vision or strategy for this country program. I will spend the first months of my new assignment to listen and learn, and will ask for your help and support to learn and understand fast. Please, feel free to openly share your views and ideas, as I believe that sharing our ideas and opinions and confronting our points of view is the basis for improving.</span></p> <p> <span style="color:#00f;">Overall, an exciting beginning. I look forward to more...</span></p> Matteo Marchisio 2014-05-06T08:23:21Z South-South Cooperation - An emerging focus of IFAD China Partnership 南南合作正逐步成为农发基金和中国合作的重点关注 Yinhong Sun南南合作正逐步成为农发基金和中国合作的重点关注 2013-09-26T02:39:12Z 2013-09-26T02:36:24Z In pursuing its partnership with middle income countries like China, IFAD has been making increasing efforts to explore the impact and benefit of South-South Cooperation by facilitating and fostering learning and sharing between China and other developing countries, especially African countries given China’s own emphasis to strengthen Sino-Africa cooperation. Since the first South-South activities in the IFAD country program started five year ago, South-South Cooperation is gaining momentum in IFAD – China partnership on which both sides are anticipating diversified and expanded approaches. The signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) by the Presidents of IFAD and the China African Development Fund (CADFund, ) on 22 August 2013 represents the initial result of joint efforts made by IFAD teams involving PRM and APR during the past year. Through the LOI, IFAD and CADFund will explore joint financing of sustainable agricultural development activities in Africa involving production, rural infrastructure, training of smallholders and provision of farming equipment and materials. Both sides anticipate that such joint activities will enhance synergies in promoting agricultural development and poverty reduction. 农发基金和中非发展基金在2013年8月签署了合作意向,双方同意在对非农业和农村扶贫方面探索项目联合投资,促进当地农业发展和扶贫。 The CADFund was created as part of the "Eight Measures" for Sino-African relations announced at the Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) by President Hu Jintao on 4 November 2006. It was established in June 2007 with US$ 1 billion of initial funding by the State Development Bank of China and was envisioned to grow to US$5 billion in the future. By June 2012, CADFund has reportedly invested about US$ 1.6 billion in over 60 projects in 30 African countries. Among the dozen agriculture related projects, cotton production and processing in Malawi has reportedly benefited over 110,000 rural households in Malawi and the neighboring countries. Leather processing project in Ethiopia has benefited about 50,000 farmer households and enabled the country to gain stable foreign exchange earnings from leather export. To facilitate the implementation of such joint activities, IFAD and CADFund decided to meet at least twice a year to identify projects and programs for cooperation, review joint activities implemented and exchange information and ideas. Meanwhile, it is also important and helpful that involvement of CADFund is facilitated in the IFAD country program processes, including COSOP and project design and review. Such involvement of CADFund is taking place in some countries, such as Mozambique. Within IFAD, it is conducive that IFAD CPMs/CPOs and regional divisions maintain close contacts with their peers for the China country portfolio and/or directly with CADFund to seize such opportunities of joint financing to achieve better and more results of the country programs. Yinhong Sun 2013-09-26T02:36:24Z Helping the Rural Poor in ChinaI-FAD China Programme Annual Review Workshop kicked off in Yunnan Province Hu Xinmei 2012-12-22T14:41:23Z 2012-12-22T14:41:23Z <p> Helping the Rural Poor in ChinaIFAD China Programme Annual Review Workshop kicked off in Yunnan Province</p> Hu Xinmei 2012-12-22T14:41:23Z Bhutan+10: Panel Discussions of Gender Issues Continued Hu Xinmei 2012-10-23T06:56:36Z 2012-10-19T17:55:22Z <p align="left"> <strong><a href=";groupId=12834">/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=b9aa9a1d-9900-4f1c-a8b3-f9603177f754&amp;groupId=12834</a>Bhutan+10: Panel Discussions of Gender Issues Continued</strong></p> <p align="left">  </p> <p> The conference entitled <strong>Bhutan+10: </strong>Gender and Sustainable Mountain Development in a Changing World moved produtively. There were 4 parallel panel discussions for the third day, including gender and income generation, gender and REDD, gender and climate change adaptation in different ecosystems, gender and water, gender and Indigenous knowledge, gender and Forest, gender, atmosphere and Carbon in a changing climate, gender and agriculture, gender, development policies and best practices, gender and migration, gender and adaptation to climate change.</p> <p>  </p> <p> After the parallel panels, a grassroots forum was opened where grassroots demonstrated their efforts made to empower mountain women for inclusive community developement</p> <p>  </p> <p> The conference was very informative, broadening gender eyes for the participants.</p> <p>  </p> <p> The conference bulletin is attached.</p> <p>  </p> <p> Below are a few more thoughts share regarding gender and agricultural and rural development</p> <ul> <li> It is important that stakeholders like the policy makers, extensionists, researchers and mountain women to take the ownership and work together for mountain women empowerment</li> <li> Participatory community farmer education with gender sensibility is a powerful tool to supplement formal education, contributing to rural poor poverty alleviation by using bottom-up approach for policy influence.</li> <li> Sustainability of the best practices for mountain women inclusive development is crucial, especially for those successful international agricultural and rural development projects which have piloted best and innovative practices.</li> <li> The livelihoods of the mountain women greatly link with the availability of the natural resources, improving the economic resilience is needed by diversifying income generation resources.</li> </ul> <p style="margin-left: 21pt;">  </p> <p>  </p> Hu Xinmei 2012-10-19T17:55:22Z Models of Value Chain Development in Rural China Wang Weijing 2012-07-19T10:10:23Z 2012-07-19T08:42:51Z <p> In the recent south-south cooperation workshop, participants had a field visit in Shanxi province to see the practice of &nbsp;value chain development and market access. It is quite interesting.</p> <p> The agri-business we visited included grain, livestock ( milk cow), and vegetables. &nbsp;It was found out that there is always a " hub" &nbsp;playing an important role in the value chain development as it connects the producers and traders. &nbsp;For instance, in the&nbsp;value chain of&nbsp;milk production, &nbsp;the model is " enterprise+base+ruran HH" . The enterprise has the contract farming with farmers. It pays some money to farmers before sowing.Then the enterprises gave seeds to farmers, and farmers plant and manage the corns. After the harvest, the enterprise will get the corns and pay farmers with the advance payment deducted. The enterprise has its own milk cows but also allow farmers to raise their own cows in the enterprise' yard. &nbsp;The milk is sold to a big dariry company. Throught the whole chain, the enterprise bears all the risks: production risk, livestock risk and market risk.&nbsp;</p> <p> In another model " supermarket+rural cooperative+farmers" &nbsp;, the rural cooperative is critical in linking small farmers to market. Farmers have shares of the Rural Cooperatives both in terms of money and land. The Rural Cooperative organized farmers to plant and represents farmers to negociate with supermarkets. The Rural Cooperative distributes the profit once a year. The distitution will be based on the production of farmers contribute ( 60%) , and the share a farmer has in the cooperative ( 40% ). it is quite obvious that with the rural cooperatives, farmers are organized to use the same seeds, plant same crops, follow the same standard, and harvest almost in the same time. Due to the scale of production, the Rural Cooperative has better bargin power. In this site, the supermarket also rents some green houses of the Rural Cooperative and does the contract farming.&nbsp;</p> <p> There always a concern that whether small farmers can equally benefit from the value chain development. I think as long as small farmers can benefit and not further pushed to the magine, it is accepatable. Because of the different endowment, it might be difficult to equally benefit everyone, but without those taking the lead and promoting to market, small farmers would have little chance to benefit from market development.</p> Wang Weijing 2012-07-19T08:42:51Z Are high food prices good or bad? Wang Weijing 2012-07-11T09:40:33Z 2012-07-11T09:39:12Z <p>  </p> <p> People normally think high food prices are bad, or at least bad to net consumers, although good to net producers. As many small holders and the poor are the net consumers, they are vulnerable to high food prices. The memory of 2008 food crisis is still fresh to many people: the high food prices exaggerated poverty and pushed more than 100 million people into hunger in 2008 &nbsp;(WFP, 2008).</p> <p> In the recent south-south cooperation workshop in Beijing however, it was argued that high food prices were not always bad. When the prices go up, it hurts farmers, but farmers will quickly have coping strategy and produce more. They become producers and benefit from the high prices.</p> <p> This opinion is likely to be consistent with Chinese government’s food prices policy. The objective of food price policy is to keep the food prices growing moderately. The rationale is to provide enough incentives for farming, and gradually increase farmers’ income, but not too radical to cause food crisis.</p> <p> I think it seems a good blueprint but the question is how well for government to create an environment to allow the prices grow moderately? And if there is a pressure of volatility of food prices , how well could the government, the community, the producers and the consumers prevent and prepare for it?</p> <p> Chinese government already has big state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to help smoothing market prices. The mechanism is not complicated: when the prices are low, SOEs buy food, and when the prices go up, they sell foods to the market. Through the adjustment of food supply in the market, the food prices can be partly smoothed. Now these SOEs focus on grain and pork which are the most important food for Chinese people.</p> <p> Another prices intervention is to launch “minimum purchasing prices” ( MPP)mechanism. Essentially every year the government issues indicative prices for wheat and rice respectively. If the market prices are higher than the MPP, the transaction will be market based; otherwise government will buy wheat/rice by the MPP.&nbsp; Some people argued that the MPP mechanism distorted the market. However, the MPP was never really launched/used because the market prices are always higher than the MPP. So I think so far this policy is effective in providing incentive and confidence for farmers and markets as the prices set seem lower than the equilibrium. But it is still important to have such a policy to hedge the loss of farmers.</p> <p>  </p> <p> Shall government have policies to prepare cash transfer for the most vulnerable people like urban poor, the retirees, the rural small holders and students when crisis comes?</p> <p> Producers must be happy with the high food prices, but it is important to raise the awareness of market risks for them. Although the food prices index, which is composed by a basket of foods, are remaining high in the recent years, it is not always the case of specific food commodities. Market risks are always there. Agricultural risk management including agricultural insurance could be effective to transfer the risks out of the region and the country. I would like to highlight the importance of risk transfer out of the region/country as food prices are highly positively correlated.</p> <p> Households and consumers shall have their coping strategies as well: savings, remittance, and livestock. Are there other coping strategies HHs shall be aware of and prepare?</p> <p> In summary, high food prices could be good, as it guides agricultural investment not only from the government but also from private sectors, and provide incentives for farmers to produce more. But it shall be carefully monitored, and as importantly to improve the risk management capacity for government and households.</p> Wang Weijing 2012-07-11T09:39:12Z Rural Cooperatives: enhance small farmers' access to market Wang Weijing 2012-03-29T08:12:52Z 2012-03-29T07:12:58Z <p> Reviewing the roles of rural cooperatives in the extension of agricultural value chain, we will find that rural cooperatives do help farmers, espcially small &nbsp;farmers to enter the market.&nbsp;</p> <p> When I was visiting a rural cooperative in Xinjiang project, i witnessed that &nbsp;farmers were busy in loading sweet melons into the trucks of traders. Farmers told me that before the setup of the rural cooperative, they had difficulty in selling sweet melons. But now the farmers are "united' &nbsp;and the scale was tens of times than the indivisual farmers. Traders were happy to come as the cost was much lower. Besides, the leader of the rural cooperative having a long history in working with traders fully utilized her network and made the marketing so much easy.&nbsp;</p> <p> Ministry of Agriculture also issues policies to promote the market access through the "direct link of rural cooperatives and supermarkets" and the "direct link of rural cooperatives and schools'. This policy aims to reduce the distribution cost so that farmers can benefit more.</p> <p> Some rural cooperatives open retail stores in urban areas and their products can be sold in the stores. It is another effective means in participating in market.</p> <p> I think the rural cooperatives have good potential to enhance the market access of small farmers. There are a couple of issues worthy of attention:</p> <p> a) farmers shall continue to improve the product quality. The products with quality gurantee have very good price in Beijing's super markets. I think in order to ensure the profitability and sustainability, the most important thing is to enhance the quality.&nbsp;</p> <p> b) rural cooperatives could think about the "union' of themselves, so the scale can even enlarge. It &nbsp;will allow the diversification of products as well. For the retail stores operated by rural cooperatives, it would be a advantage if they have enriched products for sale.</p> Wang Weijing 2012-03-29T07:12:58Z The Sustainable Development of Rural Cooperatives (RCs) Wang Weijing 2012-03-21T08:41:36Z 2012-03-21T08:40:07Z <p>  </p> <p> It&nbsp; is well recognized that the Rural Household Responsibility launched in 1980s in China made a great contribution to the achievement of national food security of China. From the economics perspective however,&nbsp; the scale of economy is much efficient. It seems that scale of economy would be the future of China’s agriculture if China aims to foster agricultural development and realize the modernization of agriculture.&nbsp; Rural Cooperatives (RCs)&nbsp; can reach scale of economy and whilst protect farmer members’ interest, increase farmers’ income and promote common wealth, if appropriately operated.</p> <p> China’s experience shows that RCs are playing an active role in pre-production, during production and after harvest. They are well involved in agricultural technology extension and training, products quality control and marketing. The data from Ministry of Agriculture shows that the number of RCs more than doubles in the past two years.&nbsp; There were 510 thousand RCs in China by the end of 2011, covering 16% of rural households. It looks that there is a positively trend of RCs development in China. The key questions are how these RCs have a healthy development? How can farmers members equally/fairly benefit from the RCs development? I think three issues are of paramount.</p> <p> Firstly, identify the property rights to protect member’s interest</p> <p> The definition of UN to cooperatives is that a farmers’ cooperative is “…an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily … through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. It is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit.”&nbsp; Therefore we can read that the fundamental element is to own the property rights jointly with the common goal to gain mutual benefit. The ownership of the property right “jointly” shall not be something floating in the air, it has to be, I think, a quantitative property right allocated to each individual. In other words, the property rights shall be clearly identified. It is to be the basis of other rights and responsibilities, including governance, distribution and risk bearing.</p> <p> So the first thing to solve is the property right. In some RCs, only a handle of people owned the majority of the RC stocks and most of the members only own a small portion. It jeopardizes to become an enterprise owned by a few people. Besides, the property right will determine the distribution. A “Rural Cooperative” physically owned by a few people can not protect the interest the farmer members, and in turn reduce the incentive of farmers to join it and impact its sustainability. In some areas, local government contributes some of public resources to support RCs development, including land, water resources etc. These resources shall be carefully reviewed, identified and allocates to members otherwise farmers cannot benefit from the government supports, and even more, some of the national property will just evaporate/be misappropriated. &nbsp;</p> <p> To ensure the ownership of&nbsp; the property for members, farmers shall be allowed to buy stocks/invest for the RC, and equally important, to make the stock share as even as possible.&nbsp;</p> <p> Some may argue about the issue of poor HHs: how can they have the capital?&nbsp; I think the investment for RC shall not be limited by capital, but also includes other format of property, such as the land. In China, the land distribution is relatively equal, meaning even poor households also have a certain amount of land. Besides, we know &nbsp;the government provides huge amount of financial assistance to support RCs every year. Can some of the government financial assistance be used to set up a guarantee&nbsp; fund, which will provide guarantee, similar to a collateral ,&nbsp; to leverage a loan for poor farmers? &nbsp;Then farmers can use the loan to buy shares. I do not like the approach to provide grant to poor farmers directly. The main reason is that the farmers do not have the incentive and pressure to work for the RC, since the stock share is free. It is not good for the capacity building of poor farmers in self-governance, and harmful for the enhancement of risk awareness. So a better way is to set up an effective system to trigger credit and use the loan to obtain shares of RCs.</p> <p> &nbsp;Secondly, improve the internal governance and empower rural farmers</p> <p> As we discussed, the property right is the foundation. Once this issue is settled down, the governance of RCs becomes important.&nbsp; RCs shall meet the requirement of <em>the Rural Specialized Cooperatives Law (2007) </em>and set up three committees: the Board of Supervisors, the Council and the General Meeting of Members.&nbsp; If the property rights are relatively equal, then the member can have relatively equal right of governance , e.g. each member having one vote. This implies that the RC is not only united by stock share, but &nbsp;more likely to be a union of “free people” . This is very important.&nbsp; The farmers organizations shall be ultimately managed by farmers and benefit farmers.&nbsp; So far the lack of participation of members in RCs is rather obvious. Many RCs are controlled by a few “big farmers/big&nbsp; shareholders”. Ordinary&nbsp; farmers do not have much intensive to join.</p> <p> The development of RCs could be a good opportunity to empower poor farmers in self-governance and self-development.&nbsp; “ Rural Democracy” was set up as a goal by Government of China for the “New Countryside Construction”&nbsp; and have gained some results. With the RC as an economic institute, the rural democracy has a more concrete foundation. The participation of farmers, particularly the poor farmers, will make RCs true cooperatives owned by farmers. Its sustainability is therefore being possible.</p> <p> Last but not least, is to enhance the team spirit and culture</p> <p> From the long term development strategy, the critical element is to train farmers on cooperation spirit. Chinese farmers are traditionally small holders engaged in small farming economy, which does not require much of cooperation.&nbsp; Thus the lack of team spirit has its profound cultural and historical reason. Moreover, china launched a national wide programme on “big Rural Cooperatives” and “ Big Leap” in 1950s which have been proved a failure and caused huge economic damage.&nbsp; Elder farmers remember the experience and do not trust rural cooperatives so much.&nbsp; Therefore the enhancement of awareness through training and education on team spirit is very important. Besides, RCs &nbsp;shall focus on the service provided to farmers. If farmers benefit from RCs, their trust will increase. Only with the support from farmers can RCs have sustainable development.</p> <p> The cooperation spirit or team spirit could become an endogenous factor contributing to the development of RCs. For instance, in the course of RCs development,&nbsp; in some cases there is a need to re-arrange the land, and some farmers’ property, e.g., fruit trees on the land, have to be damaged; in other cases that the development&nbsp; of RC means some members need to invest more time and resources.&nbsp; Members will be willing to support RC only if they have the team spirit and they have the common development goal. The commitment of farmers to team spirit will eventually make RCs, the very special enterprise to be very competitive in the markets.&nbsp;</p> Wang Weijing 2012-03-21T08:40:07Z Approval of Village and Township Banks in China getting strict Wang Weijing 2012-02-10T03:19:50Z 2012-02-10T02:34:54Z <p> The China Bank Regulatory Commision ( CBRC) recently withdrew the authorization of&nbsp;approval of&nbsp;the openning of Village and Township Banks (VTB). It imples that the development&nbsp;of VTB network will be slowing down, but I think it is smart and timely to do so.</p> <p> This issues shall be tracked back to 2006, when CBRC issued a policy aiming to foster the rural finance by giving authorizations to local CBRC to approve VTBs. Together with authorization, there are several favourable policies, for instance, the local banks can open VTBs in other regions, and if a VTB is established in poverty driven areas (west areas),&nbsp; a chain VTB would be allowed to open in the relatively rich areas (east areas).</p> <p> Because financial service in China has strict control by Gov, many banks, especially small banks were active to apply and open VTBs. With this motivation, many VTBs are newly established, and many of them were in poor areas.</p> <p> If we only look at the numbers, we may be happy with the figures. The question, however, is how well and how effective these VTBs are working? Do they really meet the needs of farmers, and really devote to provide service to poor farmers?</p> <p> Soem local banks open VTBs in west areas, but their main business is in the "Chain" of it which locates in rich areas. Some banks established VTBs just because they want to develop their business in other regions. The natinal wide banks, e.g. four big banks only have very limited number of VTBs. It makes sense from one hand, as their business was mainly in urban areas, and their business modaliy does not well fit the rural culture. From the other hand however, VTBs can not benefit from the relatively advanced management which impede its developement as a whole.</p> <p> The withdraw of the authorization reflects that the authorities are more concerned on the true value of VTBs bringing to poor rural areas. I personally think it is a good approach. In China many things are developing so fast, and the volumn increases in a surpring rate. It sometimes is at the cost of quality though. So I personally t hink China shall slow down, but&nbsp;more focus on&nbsp;green and sustainable development.</p> Wang Weijing 2012-02-10T02:34:54Z Knowledge Sharing (KS) Tools and Techniques Workshop was successfully held in Hangzhou, China Jessica Yip 2011-12-15T02:13:06Z 2011-12-15T02:08:39Z <p> The Knowledge Sharing (KS) Tools and Techniques Workshop was successfully held during 28-30 November 2011 at Xixi 598 Hotel, Hangzhou for up to 40 Chinese government officials from around 10 different provinces. In the workshop, facilitators (including Ms. Meena Arivananthan, Ms Wang Weijing, Ms. Gong Zheng and I) introduced to and shared with participants about different KS tools and techniques. Participants also practiced on and reflected upon the KS tools. The reflective sessions were held immediately after each practice session so that participants can critically assess the feasibility of applying the KS tools in their work environment. In this piece of blogpost, the essence of our 3-day workshop in Hangzhou was illustrated.</p> <p>  </p> <p> On Day One, Mr. Liu, Shengan (Director of Foreign Capital Project Management Center (FCPMC) of State Council) kindly gave a welcoming speech. I am particularly impressed by Director Liu’s saying that the KS workshop was organized not only for facilitators to share knowledge about professional KS tools, but also for participants to co-learn from each others. As a facilitator, I am wholeheartedly wish&nbsp;Mr Liu's idea&nbsp;could be practically realized in the Hangzhou workshop. Subsequent to the welcoming ceremony, our experiential learning journey began. Chat Show, Jumpstart Storytelling and After Action Review (AAR) were introduced. Participants started to get familarised with each others as well as the learning environment and methods.</p> <p> <img alt="" src=";groupId=12834&amp;t=1323918531213&amp;custom1=true" style="margin: 10px" /></p> <p> On Day Two, momentum started to emerge. A presentation competition was held after the Social Network Mapping exercise, in which participants voted for the best 3 presenters. After lunch break, an exercise (namely Deer-Hunter-Wall ) were conducted to energize participants. Subsequently, Peer Assist exercise was held. Officials from three new projects sought for advices on how to better execute their project work in the future. Counterparts from other projects instantly offered insightful feedback. In such sense, knowledge exchange between different provinces and projects was facilitated.</p> <p> <em><img alt="" src=";groupId=12834&amp;t=1323918531213&amp;custom1=true" style="margin: 10px" /></em></p> <p>  </p> <p> On the last day, the IFAD Asia Portal, its functions and its advantages were introduced. Workshop Facilitation Techniques were also shared with participants to better equip them with the skills to hold KS workshop in their own provinces. Finally, the workshop ended up with the Knowledge Café exercise. The discussion title was designed to be “ How to apply the KS tools and skills learnt in the three-day workshop in your workplace in individual, project and provincial level?” Many positive and innovative ideas were elicited throughout the process of&nbsp;Knowledge Cafe.</p> <p> <img alt="" src=";groupId=12834&amp;t=1323918531214&amp;custom1=true" style="margin: 10px; width: 600px; height: 366px" /></p> <p> While the KS workshop has came to the end, I hope the spirit of knowledge sharing could be remained and sustained. I would like to thank all participants and the facilitator team for the memorable experiences in the KS workshop. Wish there’ll chances to meet you again in the near future ! &nbsp;</p> Jessica Yip 2011-12-15T02:08:39Z writing exercise: Farmers get insurance payout without loss assessment Wang Weijing 2011-11-06T15:41:54Z 2011-11-06T15:34:12Z <p> <span style="font-size: 12px"><em>This is an exercise written on the writing training under regional grant in Yunnan, China from Oct 12-14. Thanks to the comments from Denise. Very pertinent!</em></span></p> <p> <span style="font-size: 12px"><em>Hope visitors will see the comment. You will benefit from it!</em></span></p> <p> Field loss assessment on crops losses are not necessary for insured farmers anymore. Farmers in Anhui province hit by 2011 summer drought received over 230 thousand RMB, in record time, thanks to an innovative insurance product introduced to farmers by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) &nbsp;and World Food Programme (WFP).</p> <p> The conventional way to identify crop loss after a disaster is to do costly and time consuming loss assessments. Staff from the insurance company has to go to the field to assess the losses. The &nbsp;challenges &nbsp;are even bigger in China &nbsp;due to the small plot size of individual farms.</p> <p> Farmers supported by IFAD and WFP now have access to a new insurance product. The product, called the weather index agriculture insurance, uses weather data collected in weather stations to calculate payouts. As there is a strong correlation of weather to crop yield, weather data becomes the proxy &nbsp;for yield. Therefore, the payout can be easily calculated based on the weather data.</p> <p> The advantage of this product includes rapid payout, transparency and saving of staff labour.</p> <p> The project is only in a pilot stage, but has already demonstrated its feasibility both to insurance companies and farmers. “ I am very happy&nbsp; receiving the payout in such a short time. Now the investment for the next crops season is guaranteed. “ &nbsp;Farmers Zhou told us.</p> <p>  </p> <p> Contact information: Weijing Wang, IFAD China&nbsp;</p> <p>  </p> <p> Genereal Comment – you might want to mention the project name, and put in a quote from a farmer. If you have a picture of a farmer, you can put the quote as the caption of the picture. This will also bring some&nbsp; ‘human interest’ into the article. If it is for IFAD, you might want to add contact details at the end, or a link to the project website.</p> Wang Weijing 2011-11-06T15:34:12Z Summer Grain Harvest in China 2011 Wang Weijing 2011-07-15T02:51:42Z 2011-07-15T02:33:12Z <p> The Ministry of Agriculturle, China recently acconced that China has the grain production of 126 million tons in 2011 summer, increasing by 2.5%&nbsp;than 2010 and &nbsp;representing the 8th consecutive year of grain production increase.</p> <p> It was expected to slow down the inflation in China. China is encounting high inflation rate since 2009. Food prices increased dramatically as well, especially for pork.Monitoring data in a whole market in Beijing ( Xin tian Di, CCTV China)&nbsp; showed the pork price in july 2011 is 70% higher than that in 2010. Other food prices, including cereal, vegetable, fruits all have price increase. The drought happening in the 2011 spring&nbsp;fueled&nbsp;the expectation of people on production decrease and higher price, and has actually driven the prices up. The release of this news, hopefully, can calm down people's worry, and slow down the inflation.</p> <p> Of course I am happy with the result, but in the same time, given the limited land/water, climate change, natural disasters, urbanization etc, I am not so positive on the continuing increase of grain. In another words, the potential of grain production is close to its limit,--gov. and farmers are trying every efforts in increasing the production: fertilizer, pestcide, irrigation without much consideration of underground water balance, --all impose challenges for the sustainable development.</p> <p> The potencial improvement, from my view, is to enhance the reserve system and management, meaning less waste, which will contribute the food security in a "green' way.</p> Wang Weijing 2011-07-15T02:33:12Z New Poverty Reduction Strategy of China echoes similar objectives with the new IFAD strategic framework Yinhong Sun 2011-07-15T13:09:44Z 2011-07-15T01:17:04Z <p> The ten year Poverty Reduction Strategy (PSR) of the government of China for 2011-2020 has more or less been shaped. A final version is being circulately internally within the government system, especially the poverty reduction system for&nbsp;discussion and digestion.&nbsp; A formal&nbsp;publicizing&nbsp;is anticipated after the government has organized a national poverty reduction conference to be presided by the state leaders sometime in&nbsp;October/November&nbsp;2011.</p> <p> The new SPR will&nbsp;take more subjectively the poverty criteria, which presently at 1196 Yuan per capita of annual income was much questioned of being low in comparison with international standards, even below the low income line of many provinces, creating contradiction of the poverty reduction with the Di Bao policy implemented by the ministry of civil affairs who is supposed to cover the lowest strata of the poverty population.&nbsp; Though the new PSR will not likely set an explicit criteria, but it is alomst certain that the criteria will be gradually increaesd and will leave flexbilities for provinces to adjust to suit its own development status and poverty situation. The national poverty line will be the bottom line and the provincial level will be flexible but in no way lower than the national one.</p> <p> The new PSR will give priority to reducing poverty in about 17 block areas, mostly being the traditional revolutionary bases, minority concentrated areas, border areas and high concentration of poverty areas.&nbsp; More resources can be anticipated for the new PSR. A new round of requalification of poverty areas has been underway in the provinces, successful villages, counties and areas considered eligible for coverage of the new PSR may anticipate substaintial central and sometimes provincial fiscal transfer. Much internal work is being done for that sake to balance every factors.</p> <p> Interestingly also the new PSR will build on and consolidate the acheivements in satisfying food and clothing so far, and give priority to a higher level of objecives such as capacity building for self-development, increase income and reverse the trend of gap widening, eco-environment conservation to strengthen resilience and development sustainability,&nbsp;</p> <p> It can be seen that many areas of focus resonate the similar objectives that the IFAD new strategic framework has prioritized, such as increasing on and off farm income, enhance poors' resilience to market and environmental threats, enhancing farmer's own organization and development capacity.&nbsp; Several cross cutting aspects like participation, innovation, knowledge management and&nbsp;gender sensitivity are being given similar attention.</p> <p> Much can be anticiapted for the IFAD Country Program when it is closely complimented by and aligned with governemnt counterpart financing.</p> Yinhong Sun 2011-07-15T01:17:04Z Land – the traditional asset but potential new aide of poverty reduction for Chinese farmers ? (Part I) Yinhong Sun–-the-traditional-asset-but-potential-new-aide-of-poverty-reduction-for-chinese-farmers-part-i 2011-07-18T14:36:38Z 2011-07-17T07:24:51Z <p> With only an average per capita of 0.07 hectare farmland, farmers in rural China are not in a favorable condition of getting better off – an ultimate objective of the central government in the short and medium term.&nbsp;&nbsp; It is even fair to say impossible by relying on such small slot of land for attainment of the objective.</p> <p> Of course there are various favorable central policies that divert subsidies to agriculture, a scale never had before in the Chinese history. Yet direct subsidy to household may help for a while, but does not address the root cause of limited self-development capacity of farmers, especially poor farmers. There are not lack of fortunate farmers who succeeded because of their entrepreneurship and having harnessed various commercial opportunities.&nbsp; But making money from commercial opportunities require investment, small holder farmers may not have the ability to accumulate the required initial investment even with their life-long savings.&nbsp; Many potential farmers may have not been able to demonstrate their ability due to lack of investment.</p> <p> Investment comes basically from two sources: from financial support such as credit, or from selling their assets.&nbsp; Land and farmer house or homesteads are the two most valuable asset of farmers.&nbsp; But contrast to the sky surging property price of urban areas, farmers’ land and house only worth a penny.&nbsp; Why such a difference ?&nbsp; the cause is due to the policy of the government which prohibits the freely transfer of land and houses of farmers. &nbsp;The Chinese law says that: farmer’s houses are not allowed to be sold to urban residents, rural land is not owned by farmer individuals, rather by the local community collectively, and is not allowed for transaction, for changing the land use purpose. Understandably the high prices of land and houses in cities have nothing to do with farmers.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p> What if land is used as collateral for obtaining loans from banks ? well, due to the low value of house and land as consequences of restriction circulation, not much loan can be obtained from the Bank. In many areas the collateral only worth the crop value the land produces every year. &nbsp;Worse however, the local government has the authority to take back the land through land acquisition by compensating farmers with cash equivalent to certain years of crop value or other in-kind returns. By selling acquired land to developers and for industrial purpose, local government can increase the land value significantly, such profit margin is retained by the government. For farmers, a luckier situation is that he/she got basic social security and sometimes jumped to being urban residents, but not always the case. Various unrest and social discontent reported or non-disclosed always have to do with government’s much accused land acquisition policy.&nbsp;</p> <p> Unless farmer’s land is allowed to transfer freely, land – the main asset of farmers will not likely be a substantial contributor to help farmers to substantially get rid of poverty.</p> <p> <strong>New Developments</strong></p> <p> But there are positive developments favoring the farmers. Since 2008, the government has been testing the reform to land tenure. The basic thought was to entitle the land to individual household and create a mechanism for transfer of land under the condition of maintaining land use purpose unchanged. &nbsp;The pilot in Chongqing was even more radical by linking urban land market with rural land via a warrant like certificate called “Di Piao” (land ticket), thus bring rural land to urban market in a way of quota. In Xinyang of Henan where IFAD operates a poverty reduction program, small farm land slots were combined so have removed the ridges and spaces between the individual land, thus created additional land. In Chengdu, farmers land were undergoing explicit entitlement to prepare for next stage of tenure reform. In some of the coastal more developed areas such as Jiangsu, farmers homesteads were&nbsp;removed&nbsp;to make room for more land, while farmers were given apartments in concentrated residential areas plus social secuirty coverage and basic monthly subsidy. More is ongoing with land tenure in China that appear to favor farmers...</p> <p> <em>(to be continued)</em></p> Yinhong Sun 2011-07-17T07:24:51Z Where is the value ended up in the Chain ? (test) Yinhong Sun 2011-06-15T07:56:08Z 2011-06-15T07:45:15Z <p> Since 2010, Inflation in China has significantly pushed up the prices of foodstuff at the consumer end, however at the producers' end, farmers were unable to sell out their products even at the price below the production cost. Where&nbsp;has the large profit margin between farm gate price and consumer price ended up with ?&nbsp; An indepth look would tell how the different stakeholders are profiteering from the payment of consumers at the sacrifice of farmer producers. Without adequately engaged in the chain and have their say, poor farmers easily go&nbsp;bankrupting. A vegetable growning farmer in Shandong province even comitted suicide due to the failed price on his crops... Something is wrong somewhere in the chain....</p> Yinhong Sun 2011-06-15T07:45:15Z